Lent 2014 + Looking Back to 2009

Lent 2014 + Looking Back to 2009 by carolinearmijo

In the fall of 2012, I had a marvelous idea. I would recreate my Lenten series of 2009, known as Forty Forts, starting today. It would be four years later. My second baby would be about the same age as my first in these posts. And, it would be great to see the parallels between my life then and now. Plus I liked the four year cycle reference to the Forty Forts. Presidential elections, the Olympics, and Leap Years fall into four year cycles. It made perfect sense. Between then and now, I planned to put my text into a Blurb book to accompany my journal and post my old forts online for sale. And I really wanted to switch to SquareSpace from WordPress two thousand plus posts later.

None of that happened.

This morning I woke up in a cheery mood. Henry even commented to keep doing whatever I was doing, because I was in a great mood. (Made peace with snow days?) But then I started to feel really anxious. Was I going to bail on this project?

After breakfast I wrote in I my journal, which I have written A LOT this year. My entry sounded more like a blog post than my typical free-flow of three pages. I was talking myself into it.

Maybe I am apprehensive because last time, my focus was primarily parenting. I was a first-time mom during the height of the online parenting wars. And I was on my phone/Internet a lot. All of those sleepless nights and all of that anxiety over those sleepless nights. I hated it. In the end, I learned I needed more of what my daughter had/has: CONFIDENCE.

This time around, I have embraced what works for me and not worried that much about anything. I told the doctor that with Lucy I would worry about my choices 80/20 of the time and with Oliver it was 20/80. She pointed out that was because he was not my first child. True.

My point being I don’t want to get caught up in parenting stuff again. This is my motto: Whatever works. The time is short, so do whatever causes you the least amount of guilt/stress that you can find. It’s so easy to say that the second time around. I keep trying to remind myself that today is not necessarily an indicator of tomorrow. And go on.

And here we are ten months later, just like that.

So… With that said, I am taking a deep breath and committing to a new series. Anytime I feel a sense of anxiety about creating a piece of art, I find it ends up being my best work. I am keeping my expectations very low. Very, very low. I have accomplished so little in the last ten months besides fostering a new being into the world while holding my four-year old. I feel like I have finally returned to myself after eighteen months of not being me due to thyroid issues. So I am declaring tentatively that I am up for it knowing I have a microscopic amount of time and four curious little hands always close by.

Eighty Envelopes is this series’ theme. I came up with the name as a next step in my Souvenirs Series, which I really have not blogged about. I started creating a series of seven works this fall based on my trip to Europe in 2006. Essentially, seven souvenirs seven years later. I have finished the first two. I reference my journals and randomly pick what I feel is right. My first city was Bilbao, second was Liverpool, and my third is Glasgow.

In Glasgow, I was in awe of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the Glasgow School of Art. For years I wanted to make an art school housed in the Old Germanton School. It was bulldozed at some point after my trip to Europe. I was devastated. Then when I was thinking of my third piece, our family store was empty in Germanton. I was so tempted to start a tiny art school/co-op there. Much more attainable than my previous dream of an old decrepit building. But I knew I wasn’t physically capable at this time. So I rethought it a little bit.

When I taught classes at Paper Source, I introduced myself saying that I loved envelopes. I would always incorporate some combination of envelopes into my class. Last month I gave Henry a pair of Japanese herb clippers for Valentine’s. That morning I popped together two empty red envelopes on the table and started snipping away. I wanted to show Lucy what you could do with a few cuts and folds. The weight and sound of the scissors felt so good that I somehow said "Eighty Envelopes" and that was that.

So this is a series within a series. Initially I thought there would be two envelopes per day. But as a way to be nice to myself, I can use any number as long as I finish with eighty. So I may create a piece with fifty in one and seven in another. I know from last time, the pieces became more interesting the farther along. I believe that will be true again this time. As for now, I’m totally winging it.

And if all else fails, I also plan to try oil pulling while I blog my pieces each morning. As one commenter posted: "This literally sounds so weird. So naturally, I am going to try it."

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